On October 30, 2018 Library and Archives Canada announced that they had transferred the 1926 Census of Prairie Provinces, which contains over 45,000 pages, to Library and Archives Canada.
At the time I thought Ok, I’ll have to look at that. Then I heard that the census was being indexed and I saw on Facebook that some of my friends were looking at the films and discovering where some of the key cities were on the film. Again I thought I’ll have to check that out.
Then it was announced, on February 26, 2019, while I was away at RootsTech 2019, that FamilySearch.org now had the census online. As you can imagine I was busy at RootTech and when I came home things were behind so again I thought I need to check that out. I have to be honest I thought there’s no hurry I know where everyone in my family was in 1926 there won’t be any revelations in the records. So what’s the hurry?
Are you getting the idea that I’m building up to something? Well, finally last week I had a look at 1926 Prairie Census on FamilySearch.
And yes everyone was pretty much where I imagined they would be. But it wasn’t where they were that was interesting it’s what information I found.
You’ve heard me talk about William Beaton; my great grandfather that is a part of what I call the Beaton/Batten Mystery. William or Willie as he was sometimes called, I had discovered was adopted. The family story was that he had been adopted by his own father but the lady that raised him wasn’t his mother.
Over the years I’ve picked apart that story. I DNA tested one of the other descendants of the Beaton family; Mary and found that she and my mother were not a DNA match. Then to be sure I convinced one of the other descendants to do a DNA test just to validate that it was, in fact, me that was the one that wasn’t connected and sure enough he matched Mary and not my mother. So Willie wasn’t a Beaton.
Over the years I’ve learn a lot about Willie Beaton. In his obituary it noted that he’d been survived by his sister; Mrs. W.L. Davis. She turned out to be Annie Batten and she was also adopted and raised by the Batten family that lived not far from Willie. I’ve DNA tested one of Annie’s descendants and she was a match to my mother’s DNA so that part of the story is true.
I’ve never found a birth registration for Willie but then, of course, that’s because I don’t really know what surname to look for. But on every other document I’ve found for Willie, he was always listed as being born in either Kingston, Ontario or Pittsburgh Township just outside of Kingston. The date of birth is often different leading me to believe that he either didn’t know his date of birth or he used it at his convenience.
I’ve been working the DNA connections and I think I’m getting closer to an answer but I’m not there just yet.
So let’s take a look at the 1926 Census. Imagine my surprise when I looked for Willie and found the form below.
In case you find this photos too small it says; Beaton, William lives at 12936 Fort Trail, Head, M (male) M (married) age 46, born; Scotland, Father born in Scotland, Mother born in Scotland, origin Scotch, date of immigration 1880.
First of all, if he’s 46 it would mean that he was born in 1880 and that’s the youngest age I’ve ever seen him at. I’ve found records placing the year of birth as 1869, 1872 and 1874. But I’ve never seen him listed as born in Scotland nor have I seen his father and mother as being born in Scotland. Only in the 1891 and 1921 census has there been any mention of parents and both those times they are listed as being both from England. What’s interesting in this case is that he says that “he” is born in Scotland as well and that he immigrated in 1880. That is possible because the first census I find him in is the 1881 census living with the Beaton family.
I believe this is the first time I ever assumed what I was going to find on an image of a document. But it goes to show you that you should always look at the document.